Learning how you can improve your UI animation is no small task – but nor is it one you should avoid. In today’s app design environment, animation is a big deal: applications are ten-a-penny these days, and animated user interfaces add that extra sparkle to an app that can help it stand out from its competitors.
UI animation is, in fact, one of the big trends in current design – so the question is less whether you should be applying it to your sites, and more how you can make yours better. Clunky UI animation needs improvement because it gets in the way: the more obvious or clumsy an animation is, the more distracting it can become.
Your user interface needs to be slick and intuitive, not cumbersome and frustrating. So UI animation needs to be seamless – and subtle. Don’t go overboard with the bells and whistles – if a particular animation feels forced, it probably is. Better to go with what seems straightforward, but make it look really good.
But what looks good? Three words: simple, fast, effective. If your animation ticks each of those boxes, chances are that it’s a decent bit of script. The smoother the animation, and the quicker it plays out, the less obtrusive it will be to the user. Likewise, an effective animation draws attention to its function, not its form: when a menu opens, draw attention to the pages, not the palaver.
A smart move is to aim for precision in your animations. Whether they’re opening a dialog box or collapsing a menu, don’t make your user wait: not only should the transition be quick … it should be unnecessary.
In other words, the user should be able to proceed without waiting for a movement to complete. If they see what they want, let them get there – that’s the first rule of making your app intuitive, and therefore encouraging users to make it part of their daily routine.
It can be tempting to throw the kitchen sink at an app, and make it all-singing, all-dancing. The truth is that this can obscure the core purpose of the software – and an app is nothing if it isn’t laser-focused on the task it’s designed to perform.
So make your interaction point simple and obvious. Focus on minimalism and consistency to achieve better user experience and flow. Your user has downloaded your app to help make their life easier – don’t clutter their experience with over-long or over-elaborate animations.
The truth is, though, that without a bit of animation a user interface will feel flat and unexceptional to today’s users. But keep things clear, simple and quick: that’s the best way to improve your UI animation.
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